By Adel Ahmed
Learning about dental technology can be an exciting experience to go through. Three former classmates said having a group of friends to go through the same experience can make it better.
Ili Milinkovich, Carolyn Kincade and Tara Singleton are that friend group. They all graduated from the Dental Technology program at NAIT in 2007.
Milinkovich is now the current chairman for the dental technology program and has been an instructor at NAIT since 2013.
He said he originally applied to the dental technology program to get a different perspective on life.
“I needed to change my outlook on life. I was a pipefitter at the time and I didn’t particularly like it so I went into the NAIT handbook and saw the dental program and it appealed to me the most,” said Milinkovich.
Kincade served on the dental laboratory advisory committee at NAIT for six years. She started her studies at Macewan University before switching over to NAIT.
“I was not ready for the level of academics [at Macewan]. I needed to find a program that was related to [dentistry] that I could get done sooner,” said Kincade.
The three connected over the hard labour of doing homework and classes and found time to bond outside of it.
“We did a lot of homework together outside of class when it was not allowed at the time. We would sneak our instruments or projects out of class whether it was in the hallways or at a friend’s house,” said Kincade.
Singleton has recently become an instructor in the program this past February. She has a strong enthusiasm for dental. Singleton said having the opportunity to be able to teach others has been great.
“So far, I love it. It’s been great. I live, breathe and eat dental so it worked out for me,” said Singleton.
Milinkovich said the decision to come back to NAIT six years after graduating from the dental technology program was a plan that was always on his mind.
“I always wanted to come back. I had a feeling that instructing was something that I wanted to do. Sharing my love of dental technology with people who want to learn is a great feeling for me,” said Milinkovich.
The dental industry is one that has a small number of individuals working in it. Singleton said that’s something that puts added weight onto the industry’s shoulders.
“There’s not a lot of dental technologists graduating. So that puts a lot of pressure on the people in the industry,” said Singleton.
Milinkovich said it’s important for students going into dentistry to be willing to learn new skills the hard way.
“It’s a tough industry. You have to be on top of things and you need to make mistakes. It’s how you learn,” she said.